John Deere strike ends with major gains for 10,000 UAW-represented workers

HARVESTING A WIN, John Deere workers approved a new contract Nov. 17, ending a more than month-long strike with major wins for the UAW-represented workforce. – Meg McLaughlin/AP photo

The third time was the charm for 10,000 striking John Deere workers who approved a third contract proposal from the company recently, ending a more than month-long strike – the first since 1986 – with a strong new contract that includes major concessions from the company.

The workers had been on strike since Oct. 14.

Sixty-one percent voted to approve the third offer on Nov. 17, the United Auto Workers announced.

Union members had rejected the company’s  first two offers because they were not large enough to recognize the sacrifices the workers made during the pandemic, one official noted.

John Deere is expected to report record profits of $5.7 to $5.9 billion this year when it makes its financial report later this month.

The big wins in the new contract include:

  • An $8,500 signing bonus.
  • An immediate 10 percent raise.
  • Five percent raises in 2023 and 2025.
  • Three percent lump-sum payments in the second, fourth and sixth years.
  • Preserved pension, open to all workers.
  • Health insurance available to all workers sooner, and maintaining no premium coverage.
  • No new tiering, which would have created substandard wages for new hires going forward

Thanks to the workers’ courage and conviction, a new generation of John Deere employees will now be able to have secure middle-class jobs and lifestyles.

“UAW John Deere members did not just unite themselves, they seemed to unite the nation in a struggle for fairness in the workplace,” the union said in a statement. “We could not be more proud of these UAW members and their families.”

The new contract will run for six years and covers 12 plants in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas.

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